Friday, September 26, 2008

great kids' books

This essay (via Metafilter) made me think about the books I loved growing up, and the books I'd love to pass on to hypothetical future children. What books make up the ideal bookshelf for a kid or pre-teen? There are some great ones mentioned in the essay--The Little House books, Charlotte's Web, Bridge to Terebithia, the Chronicles of Narnia, Little Prince . . . so what other books should I put on my ideal bookshelf?

Obviously the Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables books (along with pretty much everything by Montgomery). The book about the immortal family and the little girl they befriend (I'm blanking on the title--it's a classic, and it always made me cry. Serious, you must know which book I mean--what is it called? The girl's name is Winnie, I think. Oh, never mind, I just remembered that Rory Gilmore starred in a terrible movie version and looked it up on imdb--Tuck Everlasting). More contemporary series, like Lemony Snicket and Kiki Strike. Contemporary fantasy books like Un Lun Dun, The Hunger Games, the Golden Compass and its sequels, Howl's Moving Castle, and Nation. Stargirl. Love that Dog. Guilty pleasure series like Twilight and the Traveling Pants books (maybe?). Definitely the Westing Game and other books by Ellen Raskin. I Am the Messenger and Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Variuos Lois Lowry books (Anastasia books, The Giver, etc). Judy Blume.

So what am I missing?

16 comments:

ohmerge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
christinamerge said...

Eleanor Estes books - Ginger Pye & The Moffats.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Gone-away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

I guess all of the Newbury award winners, really!

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, and Little Women!

I think I'd put the traveling pants books on there - I mean they aren't the greatest books, but they are definitely something girls can relate to without being too preachy.

wordnerdy said...

I can't believe I forgot Mixed-up Files! It's one of the few books that actually makes museums seem as cool as they are (and probably like many of you, it made me want to hide out in a msueum!).

I didn't forget Little Women. :) But I should have mentioned its sequels.

I don't think I've read that Elizabeth Enright book and I have only the vaguest memories of Eleanor Estes . . . except for her book The Hundred Dresses, which of course is for younger readers, but definitely belongs on my ideal shelf (I bought a copy as an adult and it's on my regular shelf, in fact).

christinamerge said...

Oh yes, I didn't want to totally cheese on Alcott, but I read Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom all the time, too. And I liked Jack and Jill alot. And the sequels to Little Women, of course!

wordnerdy said...

Alcott is totally awesome though, and I DID accidentally leave Little Women out of my initial post. Shameful!!! All of her books are great, so cheese away.

christinamerge said...

I also started reading Austen when I was 11 or 12. And I know you don't love Wuthering Heights, but the angst and delicious drama of books like WH and Jane Eyre still give me chills and whenever I think of them, I have to drop everything and re-read for the old thrill.

wordnerdy said...

Ooh, Austen, good call! Definitely Pride and Prejudice!

I loved Jane Eyre actually--middle-school me could totally relate to Jane and it's a great story. But she's a lot more likable than Heathcliff and/or Catherine. I can't remember ever finding WH to be a great romance, but its atmosphere was pretty great.

christinamerge said...

Yeah - Jane is a great character - definitely more likable than the WH crew.

We should have some Dickens on here! Oliver Twist definitely.

wordnerdy said...

Ooh yeah! I read Great Expectations and Oliver Twist when I was 11. I guess Bleak House is a little much for a kid (and I'm not just saying that b/c I got distracted around page 700 and never finished reading the other 300-400 pages).

Thank goodness you're commenting--I'm forgetting all the classics.

christinamerge said...

I loved The Pickwick Papers, but it took me five years to read - so yeah. haha!

Ooh - The Hiding Place! My grandmother gave me that book. I loved it.

christinamerge said...

What about The Hobbit? I mean, I personally thought reading Lord of the Rings was excrutiating, but I probably waited too long, and I'm not a boy.

I did love The Hobbit, though.

Also, a big book of Fairy Tales is a must. Snow White and Rose Red has always been my fave.

wordnerdy said...

Ooh, definitely fairy tales--and D'Aulaire's greek myths!!

The Hobbit is totally a classic--my dad wanted me to read it when I was a kid, but I couldn't get into it--only b/c his copy was old and kind of musty! I literally couldn't read it. I think kids would love it as long as it smelled ok. :)

wordnerdy said...

Oh! And all the Edward Eager books!

christinamerge said...

Ooh - I don't know Edward Eager! Who wrote them?

I "checked out" a copy of The Hobbit from Barnes and Noble when I was in college. haha!

wordnerdy said...

Edward Eager is the author--the most famous one is Half Magic but the rest are all great too (esp, the one about the magic library book!).

christinamerge said...

Awesome! I'm going to read those.